October 19, 2022
The Town School for Boys contracted the KairosXR team to teach an Intro to Unity Development, multi-day workshop series to their 7th grade Computer Science classes. Mr. Aaron Brill, the Director of Technology Integration and Engineering at TSB, approached the KXR team to develop Unity curriculum and courseware, and provide instruction for a four-workshop series, introducing the Unity editor to the students, and exemplifying core CS topics.
The Town School ultimately chose us given our deep experience in Unity training, and have taught students of all ages. With previous experience teaching middle schoolers, through tutoring and volunteering, KXR was the clear choice for Unity workshops.
Town School for Boys, founded in 1939, is an independent all-boys’ day school in San Francisco for students in grades K-8, and is known as the premier day school in San Francisco.
The four-part series went according to plan, with the students asking for more. This was a huge win for us, as a primary objective was to ignite an interest in Unity development, and hopefully ignite passion as well!
Our top project highlight, without a doubt, was igniting enthusiasm, and for some, passion for Unity development in the students. Though many of the students had heard of Unity, only two (out of 40+) had worked in Unity. Many had no interest in building out games either. However, by the end of the series, all of the students were enthusiastically building games and critically thinking about the development of games they played everyday (e.g. Fortnite). Seeing this level of critical thought was the win, as it showed them connecting their learnings to their personal lives (a promising sign for continued, independent learning).
What were our research strategies? Our instructional design goal is always engagement. Whether it is in the real or virtual world, the students who are the most engaged are always the students who retain the most.
In an effort to maximize engagement, we made a list of core Unity topics and ranked them in order of conceptual simplicity. The students at TSB are extraordinarily bright. However, we wanted to make their first exposure to Unity as fun as possible, and decided that introducing simple concepts, in an effort to get the students building in Unity as fast as possible, would be the safest strategy to maximize engagement.
What were our priorities? Concise lessons with a clear outcome. We find that young students need a very clear depiction of their progress, otherwise they can lose their focus and effort. Our second priority was to spark enough interest for independent learning outside of school. Our third was to integrate the CS topics they had been working on that semester into the workshop. And lastly, we aimed to generate critical thought processes throughout the workshops, and pushing the students to evaluate the games they play through a unity developer’s lens(ex: Fortnite, Rocket League, NBA 2K).
In our concluding meeting with Mr. Brill, we discussed next steps to advance the Unity educational offerings in Town. The student enthusiasm was high enough to justify continued investment in Unity and many students went on to create their final projects in Unity with the skills we taught in these workshops.
We look forward to working with Town again in the future and if you are interested in learning more about this workshop or in working with KairosXR feel free to drop us a line here.